I remember Christmas as a kid. It was so much better as a kid than it is as an older person. There is something about having little kids around that makes the celebration more full of hope and joy. When we were kids, our home life and Church life overlapped. Being Catholic, it thrilled us about Baby Jesus coming along with Santa Claus. We practiced for weeks for the big Christmas program, all our parents came (Dad didn’t, he worked nights and slept in the daytime); we sang every religious carol known to man at the time and all developed the high falsetto voice the Music Nun insisted we sing. To this day, I’m haunted by the excessively high pitch she had and expected us to all mimic. I am not even sure where my voice range is, I’m embarrassed to try singing. I admire those who can do it as easily as speaking.
Although we knew the real meaning of Christmas, it still thrilled us to think Santa would come and leave surprises for us. We didn’t ask about how he entered our house; we had a fake fireplace and knew it did not go to the chimney. We were happy for what we received most of the time. When I was about four or five, I wanted a ballerina doll so badly.
At that age, ballet fascinated me. I must have seen it on television or something, because I didn’t take lessons. My cousin did. I was jealous of that. I never saw her dance, though. The dancing just blew my mind. I loved the costumes; they were unlike anything I ever saw in my brief life. The tulle, the sparkles, the slippers, were so different from other things in my life.
The big day arrived. My ballerina doll did not. Santa upset me that year. I received a baby blue teddy bear with a music box inside. You could wind it up and listen to a tune I’ve since forgotten. I set it aside and waited my turn to open another package. The usual clothes, puzzles, whatever else.
Later that winter, my brother and I had a lot of the “childhood illnesses;” we had severe chest colds with mumps, and maybe had measles or chicken pox, too. Maybe not all in one year. But we missed school a bit. When we missed school, Mom required we stay in our pajamas. And we stay in bed. Period. No matter what. Rules are rules.
That bear, who I named “Teddy,” became my best friend. I snuggled with him as I went to sleep, when I laid there awake, and I listened to his music to help pass the time. My dad would come in to see me and play a game or two of checkers. I loved playing checkers with my dad. It was always when I was sick, and always just the two of us. Mom didn’t have the patience or time to play games or entertain us. Dad did it enough to make it special.
Before my brother and I had any little brothers, Mom would read to us. She made us listen to her read “Tom Sawyer,” and “Huckleberry Finn.” I don’t think at our young ages it impressed us. Finances being what they were in those days were not so she could go out and buy books for kids. She read from her own collection of books. But we sat on the bed and listened to her. There were no pictures to see, either.
And the ballerina doll? I received it five months later for my birthday, from Grandma and Grandpa Bobell. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It sat on the shelf with all my dolls. And she wasn’t anything special. I still loved the dancers, the tulle, the sparkles, and those toe-shoes; but slept with the Teddy Bear. As I’m now “mature,” I’ve realized how much of life turns out the same way.
We think we want something; it doesn’t happen; we find something else within our reach, so we take it and it’s better than our original “want.” That’s God; answering a prayer we make with a firm “NO,” and guiding us towards what will do us the most good. Once I learned God answers all prayers, some of them are a “no,” I was less disappointed in life. It frees us up to receive more openly. Try it, you’ll like it!
As you may shop today, prepare for Christmas, or visiting friends and family, make sure you’re safe. Even though we have a vaccine now, we may not receive it until spring, or later in some areas. Be safe. Be Careful. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. Wash up and Mask up. I don’t want to lose any of you now. Thank you for visiting. I’ll see you tomorrow! Blessings!